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Will Tony Romo’s Trade Value Be Helped or Hurt by Playing?

Jess Haynie



Tony Romo

On Friday, fellow ITS writer Kevin Brady opined that playing Tony Romo in today's "meaningless" game in Philadelphia would be a mistake. While I appreciate his logic and reasoning, I am on the other side of this issue. I think there is plenty to be gained by Romo playing and it's all about his trade value.

There seems to be a prevailing notion that the Cowboys are putting Romo's trade value in jeopardy by playing him today. That is predicated on the belief that he has value without playing, and this is where my opinion differs from many. I think Romo's potential value, site unseen, has been greatly overestimated.

Tony Romo, Seahawks

The last sighting of Tony Romo in a game could scare off potential trade partners.

When Tony Romo went down last August against the Seahawks, the general feeling was that he could no longer take an NFL hit. That went away with time, and as the Cowboys had success under Dak Prescott the optimism started to flow back into the fanbase. In what's been a magical season for Dallas, fans started wanting to sprinkle some fairy dust on Romo and see him lead the team to glory in true Disney-movie fashion.

Once the offseason begins, the time for magic and narrative will be over. Teams will get back to cold, hard business and Romo will be picked apart by any potential suitor. Facts are facts; his recent track record isn't all that attractive.

The last image of Romo on a field was lying on the ground after getting crunched by a Seahawks defender. It was the third play of the dress rehearsal game, the closest thing to real football he's played since Thanksgiving of 2015.

In that last regular season game he played against the Panthers, Romo barely completed half his passes and threw three interceptions. He had returned the previous week against Miami and looked solid, but still not like his old self.

Tony Romo

AP Photo / Tim Sharp

Even before the 2015 injury, Romo wasn't as sharp as past years. A late rally saved him in Week One against the Giants but he looked bad throughout the early part of the game. He was more efficient the following week against the Eagles before getting hurt, but even then he was missing his dynamic quality.

The truth of the matter is that Romo hasn't looked like a franchise QB since the 2014 season. And now, in 2017, there's this expectation that teams will be willing to give up a significant draft pick to add him to their roster.

Is that really reasonable?

If you're afraid that Tony Romo might hurt his value by playing today, consider the alternative. You're the general manager of a team who might be interested in him. The last things you have to go by are the 2015 tapes and what happened to him during preseason. Oh, and he turns 37 in April.

You're still this potential GM. You see that the Cowboys didn't even play Romo today. What are they afraid of? Why wouldn't you want him to get some reps before the playoffs? That's how teams treat their backup QBs, even if they're veterans.

You may start to wonder, "what do the Cowboys know that we don't? What are they trying to pull over on us?"

Tony RomoFear is dangerous and infectious. If the Cowboys handle Romo as if they're afraid of what might happen, that fear will trickle into the minds of any potential trade partners.

Bottom line; his trade value right now is probably not what you think it is.

And if Romo doesn't play today, it may drop even more...

You can't play scared in business or sports. There are times when caution is costly and it often comes when someone overestimates their position. The Cowboys could easily be the beggars and not the choosers when trying to move Tony Romo this offseason.

Romo playing today could blow up in Dallas' face. However, I argue that there isn't nearly as much to lose as many believe. Conversely, I believe there is plenty to be gained.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Jess Haynie



Tavon Austin

It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.

As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.

It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.

New Arrivals

  • TE Jason Witten (unretired)
  • TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
  • DT Christian Covington (Texans)

The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.

Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.

Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley, now with the Buffalo Bills. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)


  • WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
  • TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
  • DL David Irving (shenanigans)
  • LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.

Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.

Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.

While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.


  • FB Jamize Olawale
  • WR Tavon Austin
  • WR Allen Hurns (team option)
  • OT Cam Fleming
  • G/C Joe Looney (team option)
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
  • DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
  • LB Justin March-Lillard
  • S Darian Thompson

While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?

The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.

Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.

Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.

On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.

~ ~ ~

Today we're already seeing a flourish of free agent activity in Dallas. Reports this morning have them meeting with WR Randall Cobb and S Clayton Geathers, and we haven't even had lunch yet.

If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.

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Dallas Cowboys

REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Clayton Geathers Today

Jess Haynie



REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Clayton Geathers Today

The Cowboys appear to be waking up in 2019 free agency. After a report earlier that they're meeting with WR Randall Cobb, now they're also visiting with Safety Clayton Geathers. He's spent the last four years with the Indianapolis Colts and was a starter and team captain in 2018.

Geathers missed four games last season with a neck injury but still had 89 tackles on the year. He has yet to get an interception since entering the league in 2015, but hasn't been a full-time starter for much of that time.

Field Yates on Twitter

Free agent S Clayton Geathers is visiting the Cowboys today, per source. He was a team captain for the Colts last season, starting 12 games and recording 89 tackles.

At 6'2" and 220 lbs., Geathers is every bit of a strong safety. He is likely being considered to compete with Jeff Heath for the starting role and otherwise provide depth.

Clayton's rookie contract expired this year, making him available as a free agent. He turns 27 in June and was a fourth-round pick in 2015.

This is still just a visit and a signing is hardly guaranteed. But at the least, the Cowboys seem to be becoming far more active in this second wave of free agency.

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Dallas Cowboys

REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent WR Randall Cobb Today

Jess Haynie



Randall Cobb

The Dallas Cowboys are hosting free agent Receiver Randall Cobb today at The Star, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Cobb has spent all eight of his NFL season thus far with the Green Bay Packers.

After losing Cole Beasley to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, and with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup entrenched as starters, Dallas must be considering Cobb to help them at slot receiver.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys are hosting free-agent wide receiver Randall Cobb at The Star today, according to a source. With the departure of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys are looking for help at slot receiver and Cobb can also play on the outside. In eight years in Green Bay, he had 470 catches...

This move is a bit surprising after Dallas chose to keep both Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns from last year. Both veterans are capable of playing out of the slot, as is Amari Cooper.

Cobb, however, may bring more upside. He's struggled injuries lately but was a key part of the Packers' offense for several years. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2014 with nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Turning 29 in August, Randall's contract expired in Green Bay and he remains a free agent. The Cowboys are likely hoping to replace Cole Beasley's skill set at a discounted price.

It's been a slow free agency period for Dallas thus far, and Randall Cobb wouldn't be a glamorous addition. However, any activity would make anxious Cowboys fans happy at this point.

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